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A proposed soultion for "group dilution"

DPic [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, December 6, 2007
13 years ago2,948 views

Sorry for the title. Anyways, here's my idea. Many of you might not have even noticed this as a problem, but please hear me out. On social networks like Orkut and Facebook, groups are becoming "diluted" from users creating groups with no real purpose other than to attract users under a common interest such as chocolate, for one example.

So, now we have over 500,000 people in a group just called "Chocolate" orkut.com/Community.aspx?cmm=3 ... and some lucky person who administrates that group. Granted, administrators of very large groups on orkut no longer have the ability to send out mass-mailing to all their users, they still have all other control over this group, "chocolate."

Instead, here is my proposed solution. Groups could automatically be created for common interests between people using the forms in their profile. This would work for interests or "passions" as orkut puts it, favorites of anything from food to movies, etc.

How this could be implemented: Using a Google Suggest type thing when filling in these the supported forms in your profile that would show how many others share this interest. This would serve to eliminate the possibility of unintentionally creating a new interests group because they word something differently or because of a typo. Either all interests would be given a group, or if someone decides to create something not intended to be a "shared interest" they could be presented with the option of not creating a new group.

Thus solving the problem of group dilution!

Well, what do you think? :)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

You could also just "say something" on Orkut, like start a thread, and then based on your profile and the thread's keywords contained in subject and body, others would be exposed to this thread in their "discussions" tab.

However, interests can come and pass, and what if others defined love for "chocolate" in their profile but they've grown out of that love, and they're now into pretzles? I think one problem of defining profiles, or joining groups, or adding friends, is that these definitions fade to properly reflect reality after a while. Your actual interests may be:

- what you emailed about
- the topic of the websites you visit
- the stuff you searched for the past 2 week
- the names of your photos shot
- and so on

... incidentally, all information Google has on you or could theoretically have on you, if you're using the Google Account (and Gmail, Google web search, Google Toolbar etc.).

I think we will see trends to automate all this stuff, your proposition goes in that direction (a lazy, unofficial, bottom-up [fixed spelling error :)] way to form interest groups). People will grow tired of defining their interests, relationships and so on, as these are mere symptoms of what we do anyway – we will more and more want to the tools to analyze the cause and reverse-engineer us and our interests, friends and so on (e.g. whoever I email most often is automatically my acquaintance of some sort).

On that note (lazyweb): Who will write a toolbar that will analyze our surfing patterns, and then match groups, allowing us to talk to others with similar interests without ever joining another social network? I surf on websites X, Y and Z today so I will see a group chat window with others who surfed on Y, Z, and A today, a close-enough match. Perhaps this could trigger a get-together as light-weight as a simple group chat window; close the browser, and the connection is gone (unless you went ahead and e.g. exchanged email addresses with another member; the service would otherwise be nickname-based/ anonymous).

Caleb Marcus [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

This is a great idea. Anyone with a particular thing in a particular spot in their profile ("chocolate" in "interests") will be added to an "interest group" that lets people discuss the merits of chocolate in group-like discussions, without explicitly having to join the group. They would also be added to a list of people who like chocolate, like group membership lists, unless they marked that as private.

Caleb Marcus [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

One thing is that group memberships are public, while profile items are private... meaning that there would have to be a checkbox next to every interest you've added that tells it whether you should be added to that interest's "group"

andy [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

bottoms-up? that's funny!

DPic [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

[put at-character here]Philipp, while i do agree with you that in the long run, that should be the goal to achieve-- i think this is the best solution for right now.

Caleb Marcus [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

[put at-character here]Philipp: I don't think manually-created profiles are going away any time soon, this idea is just a way to improve the current state of things. Also, I'm a little worried about the idea of Google automatically changing your profile or adding group affiliations based on surfing behavior... it's like Beacon but more insidious. I'd rather define my own profile and interests.

Livrona http://www.livrona.com [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

That is a classic problem with no apparent good solution. You don't want a moderator and you also don't want there diluted duplicate groups. I think using tags you can combine people into logical groups but then how do you control what user is part of my network/group ?

DPic [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Livrona, i think you may have the idea a little mixed up.

The members of "interest groups" would just be whoever put down that interest in their profile.

For example:
Let's say right now i have Computers and Environment listed in my interests but for groups i have Google, Open Source, Free Software, Global Warming, Recycle, and The Danny Club. The Danny Club is the only group there that is really a group with a purpose.

The new way of doing it would put computers, Google, Open Suorce, Free Software, Environment, Global warming, and Recycle ALL under just my interests. Clicking on one of these would bring me to a group with no administrator with of all the other people who have this listed in their interests.

Then groups, or "communities" as orkut calls them, would be a more dedicated place for real groups to come in and network.

One problem with my idea is if there was a "things i hate" list-- "anti-interest groups"? lol This is a riddle for Google to solve...

I sent this idea to Jeff Huber and he said he'd pass this on to the Orkut team :)

DPic [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Also, even though there is an exception with lists of things that a user does not like, it works with everything that they do. I think that's the great part of this. A list of political candidates they support, applications they like, websites they use, music they listen to, instruments they play, authors they like, schools they have gone to, places they have worked, placed they have lived, places they wish to go, things they want to do by the end of their life, just to name a bunch of things off the top of my head.

Could this even be taken a step further, and every user has a group dedicated to them for their friends??? That could be cool!

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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